Hours before he died, SMRT maintenance trainee Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, was talking about how eager he was to do some hands-on work in the field.
But his first time was tragically also his last. He and another trainee, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, were hit and killed yesterday by a train pulling into Pasir Ris station while they were investigating a possible fault near the tracks.
Both men were in a team of 15 on the walkway beside the eastbound tracks, about 150m from the station platform, when tragedy struck.
Mr Sulaiman Mustafa, 24, Mr Asyraf’s childhood friend, last saw him at about 6pm on Monday. They chatted, during which Mr Asyraf told him that he wanted to start working on site.
It was the last time they met.
Word of the accident spread quickly among the victims’ friends shortly after it happened at around 11am.
Speaking to The Straits Times in Kembangan, Mr Sulaiman said he was in shock when he got the call. “I was riding, so I parked my bike on the side of the road and broke down,” he said.
Mr Nasrulhudin’s friend of nine years, Mr Mohd Hafeez Khan, 26, last saw him two days ago as they met every weekend for dinner. They had Thai food in Bugis as his friend loved spicy food, he said.
“It didn’t cross my mind that it could be him, but when I saw his name on social media, I was shocked and I burst into tears,” said the technician.”
Mr Nasrulhudin graduated with a diploma in electronics from Temasek Polytechnic in 2014. His father also works for SMRT.
His tutor from the polytechnic, Mr Tan Tai Suan, said: “Nasrulhudin was a conscientious and diligent student who excelled in his studies.
“He was always ready to offer help to others. He was also unassuming, respectful and well-liked by his peers and lecturers”.
Last night, more than 50 of Mr Asyraf’s friends and family members gathered at a relative’s home for prayers. They told of a cheerful and talkative young man who loved to pull harmless pranks that made everyone laugh. It was hard not to like him, they said.
Mr Muhammad Wan Fadhli, 23, a receptionist, remembered how his platoon mates during national service basic military training once tried to carry him – bed and all – along with them while he was still asleep.
“I am sure he was one of the masterminds,” he said, laughing.
Mr Asyraf’s parents are in Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage. They are believed to be on the way back.
Tampines GRC MP Masagos Zulkifli went with grassroots leaders to visit Mr Nasrulhudin’s grieving family, who live in his ward, last night to offer support.
The National Transport Workers’ Union, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority also said they would provide support and assistance to both men’s families.
Investigations are ongoing.
This article was first published on March 23, 2016.
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